A recent expansion at the I-Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign, IL includes nine new reconfigurable rooms with audio powered by LEA Professional Dante CONNECT SERIES amplifiers in a project under the direction of integration firm C.V. Lloyde Audiovisual (also based in Champaign).
The facility, which now offers more than 70,500 square feet of interior meeting space, includes a 12,200-square-foot exhibit hall that can accommodate up to 750 guests, numerous floorplan options for large conferences and expos, and theater-style seating for up to 1,200 guests.
In the first phase of the project, the team implemented an AV over IP network and a new control system to upgrade existing AV capabilities. Using portable input boxes, rooms can be set up as one-to-one, or combined presenting in one room with audiences in any number of other rooms. Phase two saw the expansion to the conference buildings, that added six more large-scale banquet halls and three more smaller conference rooms. C.V. Lloyde provided full building matrix switching allowing combinable rooms for any event type.
Because the AV system is all network-based, C.V. Lloyde worked with the I-Hotel IT team to deploy the system. The C.V. Lloyde team, which included Kyle Wikoff and Todd Fitton, designed the system, specified the equipment, and then provided the IT team with a database of equipment serial numbers and Mac addresses so they can set up their network around the equipment needs, whether it’s a standard network for IT or an AV network distributing audio or video.
“At the I-Hotel, we’re currently using AMX SVSI for AV transport, as well as an extensive Dante audio network,” explains Fitton. “The LEA amplifiers we’re using are 100-percent Dante and IoT-enabled, so we were able to put the LEA amplifiers on their own kind of network to be able to reach the internet because that’s not typical for the hotel facility. The remote connectivity is a huge LEA advantage for us, and the client loves it.”
From labeling amplifier channels and setting zones to monitoring performance, Fitton explained that the LEA Professional IoT features make the amplifiers easy to set up and control. “When we’re on-site, our technicians can log in to the system with a laptop or smart phone, walk around the facility and just mute a channel or a media zone and quickly be able to identify if it’s on or off,” he says. “And when we are doing speaker testing, to be able to mute all the other channels of the amplifiers easily, that says a lot about the product. We really liked those features.”
LEA Professional CONNECT SERIES amplifiers are available in two, four, and eight-channel models, with direct Hi-Z (70 or 100-volt) or Low-Z selectable by channel. With three ways to connect, integrators can engage the built-in Wi-Fi access point, connect to the venue’s Wi-Fi, or use the FAST Ethernet to connect to any local area network via Cat-5/6 cable. The series also offers Cloud connectivity, allowing system technicians to do remote control, monitoring, notifications, and more from most personal devices.
The new system is currently using nine 704D Dante CONNECT SERIES amplifiers stated to be providing up to 25,200 watts across 27 zones. Everything in the system is controllable via an AMX touch panel. C.V. Lloyde helped create a custom user interface that allows users to quickly set up background music and adjust audio volumes with or without engaging video projectors or dropping motorized screens.
“LEA is our number one choice for amplifiers because of the units’ quality and connectivity, and for the relationship, we have with the people at LEA Professional,” Fitton concludes. “Their response times and level of support have been phenomenal— that’s a huge benefit, especially for hotel and conference spaces. I certainly look forward to more projects with the folks at LEA Professional.”